I was asking the Lord about repentance and He told me that most believers speak to Him/”pray” as if they’re doing a McDonalds drive-through. “Lord, I want this, this and this. Fast.”
And then they speed off in another direction, consumed with their own self-interest and pleasure-seeking.
The word ‘fast’ is interesting. The world and our flesh demands that everything should be “fast”, especially that which gives us fleshly pleasure (eg ‘fast food’). But this is not the kind of “fast” that God requires. When we try to do our relationship with Yahveh “fast” (ie. in this demanding, ‘just make me feel good’ way) it is an insult and abomination to Him.
Even our confessed ‘repentance’ prayers are not worthy and pure if at the core our motivation is selfish (ie. about “saving our own skins” from pending judgment and doom). True heartfelt repentance is not about following Biblical formulae in order to ‘get’ God to hold back in His judgement so our lives here will stay comfortable and we can sleep easier. (Aren’t we already sleeping too much?! Think of the sleeping virgins without oil.)
Repentance starts with personal conviction of sin. It is a shakeup, wakeup call! Conviction of sin rouses us from our stupor and causes us to fall on our face before our Lord God Almighty. It’s not a casual, speedy, ‘driveby’ process; when we begin to see ourselves in the shadow of the Presence of Almighty God, we’re not rushing anywhere. And certainly there is nothing casual about it.
Repentance is heart-transforming. It changes us radically from the inside out. We are made different from who we were before. We are as new and real as a new baby. Conviction of sin is like the whips that came against the back of our precious Lord; it is painful as it strips our flesh from our backs so we see the ‘bare bones’ of our sinful self exposed and naked. We see ourselves as our Holy God sees us. His plumb line is our new measure of worth, and we suddenly and fearfully glimpse just how far we fall short. It is shocking and frightening. This is the ‘reverential fear’ and awe of which God’s Word speaks. It makes us lower our heads, our whole person, and tremble in humility before Elohim, our Living, All Powerful and Sovereign GOD. His Holiness takes our breath away. We can’t stand in His Presence, much less walk or ‘drive by’. True conviction of sin causes tears to fall – streams in the desert. It causes an agony of spirit to see our darkness in His Light.
My friend, repentance is not ‘light weight’. It is as hard and heavy and splintered as the Cross our Lord carried on His back. We are meant to tremble under the weight of it. Our knees should buckle.
As we lay down that load at the foot of the Cross and look up into the disfigured face and piercing eyes of He Who Is Holy and without sin, the veil of our heart should be torn in grief and our tongues automatically confess and worship Yeshua HaMashiach as Lord of Lords and King of Kings, without ceasing forevermore!
Each and every time we journey to the Lord in prayer, we need to look up to Him on that Cross, behold the price He paid for our life and liberty, and remember who we are before Him – a hardened lump of dried out clay in desperate need of cleansing and reshaping by the One and Only Potter.
We are meant to bleed in our grief and remorse as Christ bled for us. If we are not ‘bleeding’ inside and out, then our repentance is not real. Nor is our relationship real with our Triune God.
And our ‘grocery list’ and ‘formulae’ prayers make a mockery of the suffering of our Lord. They are nothing more than egocentric attempts to manipulate God Almighty for our own benefit, and the benefit of our nations.
Real repentance transforms our hearts of stone into hearts of flesh. Read that again.
Let’s begin to take that Truth seriously. And let us look for the evidence of it within ourselves to know if our own repentance is real.
The transforming Power of real repentance is like nothing else! It is PHENOMENAL! It is ASTRONOMICAL! It is SUPERNATURAL! It is OF GOD!
Only when we feel the pain of repentance deep in our heart....when we are shaken to the very core of our being like an earthquake......when the stoniness of our countenance is dislodged and our hearts and minds are wrecked by His Grace....only then are our eyes opened to Who Yeshua Is.
Only in that place does God allow us a tiny glimpse of His SOVEREIGN LORDSHIP.
Only there at His feet do we glimpse, in the dazzling radiance of His Light, the price He paid by living amongst us, surrendering on the Cross of Calvary and overcoming all powers of Hell so that we who are ensnared by sin in our fleshly state may receive His Breath of Life. This, my friend, is what it means to repent. This is the kind of humbling of self that the Lord requires. We must hush ourselves and slow ourselves to enter into that sacred place of sincere, heartfelt, mind-blowing, life transforming, self-wrecking repentance. This is the kind that involves us throwing ourselves on His Sword....not to avert further shame or disaster coming upon our persons as Saul did, but in awe-inspired reverence of His Worth and Holiness and Godship, and out of a new despising of all that is within our fleshly self that is not of Him....we must want to die to it, for love of our God and His sake!
For it is in dying to self that we become living stones, being continually transformed into the image of Christ Jesus, our Rock. As Peter’s identity was changed from Simon, so we the betrothed Bride are reformed into living ‘petras’, being continually transformed into the image of ‘Petros’, our Redeemer.
Love and blessings in Jesus/Yeshua, our Lord of Lords!
~By Glenda Lattimore (Australian National Day of Repentance contributor)